Facebook Timeline Privacy can be a nightmare by exposing previously private information and making it public. Facebook’s new Timeline has the potential to expose status updates and wall posts from years ago. Below will be information on how to update your account to have better control of Facebook Timeline privacy. I’ve covered other ways to completely remove your data, giving you the ultimate Facebook Timeline privacy, but below we’ll cover the ways you can take some control over the existing content while increasing your Facebook Timeline privacy.
Facebook Timeline Privacy Faux Pas
One of the first things you need to understand is WHY people who understand Timelines implications are upset, so let’s take a look at what Facebook Timeline privacy faux pas they’ve introduced. There is a minimum of three things the new timeline automatically makes public to not just your friends but everyone on the Internet.
UPDATE: Check out my new article on how Facebook tracking will deepen with the release of Facebook Messenger !
- Every public event listed on Facebook that you’ve ever RSVP’d to
What we’re talking about here aren’t even public events like you might think of them. For instance, going to a concert is what I would consider a “public” event. A party with close friends, that just happened to be created as a public event does not. Facebook doesn’t make any distinction, so listed on your page will be EVERY event you’ve ever RSVP’d to, right under your name.
- When you opened your Facebook account
Perhaps not as big a deal, in fact the earlier you were on board the more you might see it as a badge of honor. Still, Facebook Timeline privacy has changed in this regard making your signup time public.
- Every time you started using an app within Facebook
Facebook Timeline Privacy – delete Facebook content
The most complete solution is to simply remove all your old Facebook content. If you’ve been on the site for a long time, or are an active user this can be a mindbogglingly daunting task. However, with the use of Exfoliate you can automate the task to delete Facebook content. Exfolitate runs on Android and can take a LONG time to run, so if you’re interested doing a reboot and want to delete Facebook content then check out how to Remove Facebook content with an Android app running on your desktop.
Facebook Timeline Privacy – locking it down and regaining some control
Control Application Permissions
With the new redesign comes an interesting policy called “frictionless sharing,” which says that apps only have to ask for your permission once before accessing your info or posting as you whenever they want. You can’t change the policy, but you can control which friends get to see the app activity, change certain app permissions, or hide the activity entirely (without deleting the app). I suggest checking out CNet’s guide to modify these settings if you’d like to keep them in place, or my guide on how to remove Facebook app permissions.
Restrict Visibility of Past Posts
One of the major reasons you should consider your Facebook Timeline privacy is that the new Timeline layout many of your posts, photo galleries, and comments that were previously only visible to your friends, are now publicly visible to anyone in the world. So one of the very first things you should do to control your Facebook Timeline privacy is restrict the visibility of past posts. To do this click the drop down arrow next to home (or click the following link) and go the privacy settings page. On that page you’ll see an item to Limit the Audience for Past Posts, click the link in that section to Manage Past Post Visibility.
Go ahead and select “Limit Old Posts” and it will set every old post to “friends only” ensuring that past content is visible only to your friends and not to the Internet at large.
Ensure your mobile number remains private
If you don’t mind your friends having your mobile number then you can skip this step. I have many “Facebook Friends” who aren’t real life friends that I see often. There’s no reason for them to have my cell phone number. Remember when everyone freaked out about Facebook exposing their phone numbers? Let’s prevent that from happening again. To do this you need to click on your profile icon to get to your Timeline. Below your name is the About section, click that and you’ll see several sections for which you can control the Facebook Timeline privacy settings. I’d suggest reviewing them all, but specifically review your phone number section. Hover over the lock icon and if it doesn’t say “Only Me” then click edit and change your settings.
Limit who can post and who can see posts by others your Timeline
Something else to consider regarding your Facebook Timeline privacy is the implications of what someone ELSE might have posted to your wall. Again, click the dropdown by your name and select the Privacy Settings item. From there click on the link for How You Connect.
The last two items on the dialog box that displays are the one’s you’re concerned with when you want to control Facebook Timeline privacy. You can elect to allow friends to post on your Timeline, as well as who can see posts by others on your Timeline. For maximum Facebook Timeline privacy you would set those to “Only Me” as in the image above, or use the Facebook controls to determine what level of privacy you’d like for each of those.
Facebook Timeline privacy and tagging
Once again, click the dropdown by your name and select the Privacy Settings item. From there click on the link for How Tags Work and you’ll see the following dialog box:
Review EVERY item on this list, as they all pertain to privacy and security. Specific to Facebook Timeline privacy are the top three items. So ensure that you look at the Timeline Review, Tag Review, and Maximum Timeline Visibility and adjust the settings to best suit you.
Get to know your activity log to maintain Facebook Timeline privacy
Activity Log is something Facebook has actually implemented properly. It’s very handy as only you can see it and it provides a lot of control for recent activity. To access your Activity Log view your Timeline (click your profile picture) and then on the Timeline page on the right hand side look for Activity Log and click it. Now you can review and choose who sees everything you’ve shared – from today back to when you first started using Facebook.
As I said earlier, I used Exfoliate to automate the tasks to delete Facebook content. Exfolitate runs on Android and can take a LONG time to run, so if you’re interested doing a reboot and want to delete Facebook content then check out how to Remove Facebook content with an Android app running on your desktop. After you’ve done that, or if you want to do it manually, the Activity Log is the place to do it. Take special note of the two icons next to each item. The first displays what friends can see the content, the second controls if the item is visible on your Timeline or not. Adjust each item to control Facebook Timeline privacy for individual items as you go.
Review your Facebook Timeline privacy by viewing as someone else
The last step is to review how your Facebook Timeline privacy changes will look when being viewed by someone else. To do this view your Timeline, and click the cog on the right hand side, then select View As… Once you’ve done this the page will refresh and you’ll see an input box at the top of the page allowing you to enter in someone else’s name. You can now review your Facebook Timeline privacy as viewed by one of your friends. Additionally, you can type in ‘public’ and see how your public Timeline appears to someone who isn’t a friend.
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